Productive Night, But Nunez Is Still Looking For The Outer Limits


The fake preliminary stages of the midweek League Cup trip to Manchester City have come to an end, and Boxing Day has become a real return to club football in the gradually fading stream of the winter World Cup.

The third consecutive victory in the Premier League, three valuable points scored, a mature and productive cameo made by one teenage star in the process of becoming, a debut in the championship for another from the bench, the return to prominence of our point guards, an impressive game in the center of defense. from Virgil van Dijk, the restrained contribution of the increasingly confident Jordan Henderson, the seemingly rejuvenated Fabinho, perfectly performing the basics, Mo Salah, happy to be reunited with football, and the puzzling mood swings from the Darwin Nunez show.

Oh yes, and it all culminates in what seems like a sneaky little transfer for Kodi Gakpo, right out from under the noses of a cluster of angry rivals for a strikingly lucrative fee.

Perhaps this is a ghost story of the past, present and future when it comes to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

On the one hand, we saw Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita, who are unlikely to still be working at Anfield by the beginning of next season, and on the other hand, three teenagers rose from the bench, each of whom could quite possibly remain part of the Anfield environment for a decade or even more. All this represented a state of uncertainty for some and a window into the future for others.

All this time, the modern giants of Liverpool on the field indulged in a personal game for the championship, when repeated balls flew across the Villa Park field in all possible esoteric directions and distances.

The hosts could have had their moments here and there, and they certainly exerted unwanted pressure during the first 15-20 minutes or so of the second half, but for most of the evening Klopp’s players were just having fun.

From here, momentum will be key. However, this is easier said than done, and given that Nunez’s contribution still offers a peculiar combination of everything and nothing, and we will see little of Diogo Hotu and Luis Diaz this side of February and March respectively, this makes Klopp’s determination in moving for Gakpo may be less shocking than it seems at first glance. Moreover, Roberto Firmino is only a few days away from agreeing with potential suitors to leave the club in the summer, if he deems it necessary to do so.

At Villa Park, it was a record-breaking, equal and anxious night for Liverpool. Andy Robertson became the Premier League defender with the most assists, Salah scored the same number of goals in a Liverpool shirt as Kenny Dalglish, and Stefan Baisetic became the second youngest Spanish player to score a goal in the Premier League.

What struck Baisetic in the goal was the composure he showed. The expected impulsive reaction of an inexperienced player would have been if he had hit the ball with his boot as soon as it was at his feet, however, he was smart enough to instead pass the ball by himself from right to left, capturing both Robin Olsen and Ezri Consa out of the equation before confidently finding the goal.

It was a maneuver that can be expected from a player at the peak of his abilities after many years of training and mistakes. On the sideline, the expressions on Klopp and Thiago’s faces spoke for themselves, and the Liverpool coach announced that this was a classic Christmas story, a kind of “It’s a wonderful life” moment, unlike the traditional East End suffering holiday they are experiencing at Goodison.

For a team in dire need of a midfield restructuring, the arrival of Bajcetic in addition to the ascent of Harvey Elliott gives some confidence and some leeway when it comes to potential summer recruits. With Henderson, Fabinho and Thiago still capable players, Liverpool will be able to be a little more selective in their purchases.

For Klopp and his team, the form of his team members returning from Qatar will be as important as the January transfer window and the gradual return to form of those who were on the injured list.

Alisson, Van Dijk, Henderson and Fabinho all struck with their masterful aura against Aston Villa from time to time, while Trent Alexander—Arnold chose to demonstrate the type of vision that England will always be too timid to use on the road to failure. another major international tournament.

However, Nunez remains a mystery. Always in the thick of things, too often missing chances, but compensating for it with impossibility. The role he played in Baicetic’s goal was great, as was his confidence in trying to score a ball that was falling from a height, but he had to come out of the game with a couple of goals.

With Nunez, you always get the feeling that there is a team that is going to hide from him, but when summer turned to autumn and then winter came, we are now standing 90 minutes of football from the new year, still waiting for the appearance of the outer limits of its potential, and not just the tip of the iceberg.

Leicester City and Brendan Rodgers are now the next target, and their capitulation against Newcastle United suggests opportunities will come Nunes’ way again. Whether he will be able to send them remains an open question.

Up red.


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